The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan attacks that can be construed as campaign-related. In June, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), a government watchdog group, found that Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway violated the law by “disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media.” They called on President Donald Trump to fire Conway.
“Ms. Conway’s violations, if left unpunished, would send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act’s restrictions. Her actions thus erode the principal foundation of our democratic system—the rule of law,” the OSC said in a statement.
In response to the report, the House Oversight Committee plans a vote Wednesday on whether to subpoena Conway for her alleged breach of federal protocol.
Trump himself has vowed to defy congressional oversight, and the White House has called the OSC report politically motivated.
On CNN Monday, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin explained the significance of the law and why Congress should investigate whether Conway should be let go.
“It’s a very old law that says government officials in the executive branch can’t campaign,” Toobin explained. He added that although praising the president is fine, more explicit partisan attacks on his opponents violate the Hatch Act.
“But the more explicit involvement in partisan politics is forbidden,” Toobin explained.
He added that while it’s not a criminal offense, there should be repercussions for breaking the rule. “The OSC can recommend someone be fired. That’s what’s been done,” Toobin said.
‘Barr is a toady’: Jeffrey Toobin says talk of attorney general resigning is ‘just a big show’
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin says he doesn't believe Attorney General William Barr when he claims he considered resigning from the Trump administration.
Sources close to Barr told ABC News that the attorney general had contemplated quitting because President Donald Trump's tweets make it difficult for him to do his job.
"Barr is a toady," Toobin explained during an appearance on CNN. "Barr is doing what he's told. He had this one statement, 'Oh, whoa is me, it's hard for me to do my job when the president tweets.'"
‘That’s how authoritarian countries work’: CNN’s Toobin warns Trump is acting like a dictator
On CNN Wednesday, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin broke down the significance of President Donald Trump's decision to pardon several high-powered friends accused of political corruption and tax crimes.
"There is no doubt, under the Constitution, the president has the power to do this," said Toobin. "This is not legally a — an open question. And there is a history of controversial pardons, whether it's President Clinton pardoning Marc Rich, a fugitive financier, or George Herbert Walker Bush pardoning the Iran-Contra people on his way out of the office."
"So what makes this so troubling is in the middle of his term, here he is assigning friends, basically friends and friends of friends, to get pardons and clemency, which is how authoritarians behave, which is playing favorites with your personal friends at a time when you are playing with the opposite of favorites with prosecutorial decisions," said Toobin. "I want these people prosecuted, these people freed — that's how authoritarian countries work. Countries where there is the rule of law, there are systems in place for who gets prosecuted, who gets clemency. This is a very individually-focused way to run a presidency."
GOP’s portrayal of Trump as a corruption fighter torn to shreds as ‘complete nonsense’
Republicans who defended President Donald Trump during impeachment hearings insisted that he wasn't trying to shake down the Ukrainian government to investigate his political foes, but was instead sincerely concerned about fighting corruption abroad.
CNN's John Avlon, however, argued on Wednesday that Trump showed these claims were "complete nonsense" after he unleashed a slew of pardons and commutations for corrupt former public officials, including former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who both were sent to prison after being found guilty of abusing their offices for personal gain.